UK Scientists Plan To Create Human-Cow Embryos

by VR Sreeraman on  November 11, 2006 at 5:59 PM Research News   - G J E 4
UK Scientists Plan To Create Human-Cow Embryos
One of the most promising areas of medical science research today is the stem cell research.

The hot news of today is that Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London, have asked permission and three-year licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to create embryos by fusing human DNA with animal eggs.

Stem cells, called as the body's master cells are gifted with the potential of each turning into a tissue in the body when packed with 5-day-old embryos. The hybrid embryos would be used for stem cell research and would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days.

The amazing fact is that-why scientists are behind hybrid animal-human embryos instead of human? This may be because of the short supply and cost factors of the human embryos. That is the reason rabbit or cow eggs have become the better replacements enabling the scientists to do the basic stem cell research more safely and economically.

Researchers claim that they need access to thousands of embryos for this research by which the scientists could harness to treat diseases such as Parkinson's disease, strokes and Alzheimer's disease.

Critics say it is unethical and potentially dangerous to continue with these kinds of research. MP Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat and also a member of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee says: 'If human benefit can be derived by perfecting therapeutic cloning techniques or from research into subsequently-derived stem cells, then it would actually be immoral to prevent it just because of a 'yuck' factor.'

On the contrary to the above statement, Dr Stephen Minger, from King's College London, stated that: 'The current state of the technology is such that literally hundreds of human ooctyes (eggs) from young women will be required to generate a single human embryonic stem cell line. Therefore we consider it more appropriate to use non-human oocytes from livestock as a surrogate'.

But the argument goes on and on and does not justify the means.

Source: Medindia

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